The approval of the rescue fund for strategic companies managed by the State Society for Industrial Participations (Sepi) was a breath of fresh air last summer. On the other hand, more than a year later, with greater visibility of the looming situation and after the continuous difficulties that this instrument has undergone, the companies have not exhausted all the funds.
So far, requests have been made , according to knowledgeable sources, for just over 5,000 million euros , of which about 1,100 million have already been approved by the fund’s governing council and mostly delivered to beneficiary companies. Instead,almost 5,000 million remaining until the total endowment of 10,000 that was announced have not been requested, and the deadline given by Brussels to grant the aid expires, if a new extension is not approved on December 31 next .
It should be recalled that this instrument is governed by the temporary framework adopted by the European Commission that allows Member States to take full advantage of the flexibility provided in the State aid rules in order to support the economy in the context of the coronavirus pandemic. The terms to qualify for this fund have been lengthening as the effects of the pandemic were perceived, finally establishing the deadline for bailouts managed by Sepi on December 31, 2021.
From that moment, the part of the 10,000 million euros that does not belong to any company requesting rescue will remain in the air , since the framework given by the European Union will expire if a new extension, which is not considered probable, it does not prevent it.
With just five months ahead, there are still almost 5,000 million euros that have not been requested by the companies, so there are financial advisory companies that are already advising their clients interested in requesting one of these grants of the tight deadlines , as indicated to elEconomista from the sector.
“The approval periods are extended and if the application is not already processed, it may not be approved before December. Afterwards we do not know what will happen and if there will be the possibility that Sepi continues to grant this financing, ” they point out.
Air Europa (475 million), Duro Felguera (120 million), Ávoris (320 million), Plus Ultra (53 million) and Tubos Reunidos (112.8 million). These are the five requests for aid that Sepi first, and the Council of Ministers later, have approved since the rescue fund was launched more than a year ago. In total, 1,080 million euros that have already gone to the companies.
In the pipeline there are still applications from companies, mostly tourism, whose bailouts have been pending for months. This is the case of Hesperia (55 million), Room Mate (52 million), Hotusa (320 million), among the hotel companies, or Air Nostrum (103 million), Wamos Air (75 million) or AlbaStar (25 million). Others such as Abengoa are also still waiting, which last March, after the parent company declared itself in voluntary bankruptcy, requested 249 million through this instrument, or the Mediapro Group , in the hands of Jaume Roures (230 million) .
And it is that several have been the problems that have had the governing council of the fund “tied hand and foot,” say knowledgeable sources, for months. First, the scandal of the 53 million approved for the airline Plus Ultra , which even reached the Courts with the paralysis of part of the rescue and the request for an investigation of the members of the Governing Council of the aid granted Sepi and that would later be unblocked .
In addition, the change of presidency of Sepi, with the coming to power of Belén Gualda , until then president of Navantia , after more than a year with Bartolomé Lora as acting president, also marked a before and after.
Lora had replaced Vicente Fernández, investigated by the Aznalcóllar case, in order, as confirmed by knowledgeable sources, that once it was filed, María Jesús Montero, Minister of Finance, the portfolio on which Sepi depends, would restore him in office.
Given the delay in this resolution and the need to move forward with, among other things, the bailouts of the Sepi fund, the Treasury finally carried out the change of president.
This fact caused a shake in the house, which immediately paralyzed part of the management to carefully study each of the application files that had entered Sepi. Now, after several months frozen, several of the aids have been reactivated and it is expected that after the summer break, the aids that so many companies have been waiting for months and on which they depend to guarantee their viability in the short term will be definitively approved. medium term.